I am currently working in collaboration with Dr Antia Franklin (Coventry University) and Emma Langley (Warwick University) exploring the intersection of youth, sexuality and disability. We initially received funding from the British Academy to conduct some scoping work in this area and have been working to develop this further. Here I will give an overview of the funded work, what we have done post-funding, dissemination activities and where we would like to go from here.
British Academy Funded Project:
Looking at previous research it is clear that the exploration of sexuality in the lives of disabled people has been largely focussed upon adults. Of course, there has been some great work in this area (David Abbott to give one example) and excellent work with disabled people on intimacy and sexuality (Kirsty Liddiard– again to give one example), and this statement is not meant to detract from this. However, we were interested in the challenges that young disabled LGBT+ faced in negotiating their identity in terms of their age, sexuality and disability; and from their own perspective. We feel that it is important to discover how these identities intersect and impact, and how as a result the young people are often left to work on negotiating and making sense of their ‘selves’ with little support.
During the initial project we established access to group of young disabled LGBT+ people and we have continued to work closely with them. This has recently involved some consultation and discussion about support and education. The young people’s experiences of education are an important aspect in understanding how they work to negotiate their identities and how they deal with the conflicting messages they receive about sexuality.
Dissemination activities and further work:
Please see the publications menu for detailed information. However, it is important to emphasise that I do not view this as a one-off project. I am fortunate to be employed as a full-time researcher (which may at first glance seem idyllic) however in reality this means meeting monetary targets, often not condusive with sustained work on specific areas. However, I continue to present, publish and spread the research as much as I can and hope that it has a positive impact for young people (and academia of course!).